Errunhrd - You Can Be You, I Can Be Me (Album Review)

Errunhrd is a dream-pop project by Canadian multi-instrumentalist producer Shirin Ghoujalou. Her most recent album, "You Can Be You, I Can Be Me", is an atmosphere-heavy collection of eleven fully formed ambient pop tracks built on a foundation of beats and washed-out synths that allow Ghoujalou's euphonious vocals to intrigue with their subtly wavering mysticism.  

The gentle opening track "Friend" is as inoffensive as it is drab but does set things up nicely. "Ruminate (Meditate)" is a superb serving of chopped beats, cool synths, and delectable vocal melodies. It has hazy energy, perfect for swaying from side to side with your eyes closed, connecting to the astral plane (as its title suggests). It's meteorological music in that it can influence our environment like the weather. Personally, visions of driving around an empty city on a rainy night are conjured when I hear a song such as "Rain (Sun is Gone)", the computerized percussion and moody instrumentation sound-tracking a wholly imagined urban neo-noir drama in my mind. There are subtler moments, like the stunning "I Want To Be Better", which, save for some atmospherics low in the mix, is just Ghoujalou's voice and guitar performing an emotive and personal song about self-reflection and improvement. "Better Days" adds emotional dynamics with its somewhat upbeat nature, jovial piano line, and cool-as-a-cucumber vocal delivery. On "Synthtro", Ghoujalou lets her experimental side run free and shine, creating a track of minimalist percussion, endlessly sustained pads, and a haunting melody. "Eternal Consciousness" is perhaps the most danceable number here and could feel just at home on the dancefloor as it could in the bedroom of an emotional teenager. 

This well-produced album has the voice of an artist who, despite listing Grimes and London Grammar as influences, has a unique voice. Errunhrd can easily make associations between the romantic and the somatic, and this comes across in the heady but groovy music, especially on the fantastic album highlight "Ruminate (Meditate)", which could stand on its own, apart from the album, as a strong statement. However, if you really want to escape, "You Can Be You, I Can Be Me" is an album best experienced as a whole.